“O no! I’m not ready!” were the words that came unexpectedly tumbling out of my mouth as I was tucking my nine year old daughter in for the night, and suddenly realized that my freshman in college was coming home for the holidays the very next day.
”Oh yes you are Mommy!” she sweetly said. “ All you have to do is open your arms wide and welcome her in!”
It is just that simple. Out of the mouth of babes…
This past week of Advent during these “Golden Nights,” the octave before Christmas Eve, the Church has been reciting the “O Antiphons.” These are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of evening prayer from December 17-23. (Read the antiphon, then the Magnificat canticle-see below, then the antiphon again.)
Each Antiphon begins with "O" and addresses Jesus with a unique name, which is drawn from the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah, and whose initials, when read backwards on Christmas Eve, form an acrostic for the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come."
(I say, “O so cool!”)
Those titles for Christ are:
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!
O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!
“My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior. For He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.
For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For He that is mighty hath done great things to me, and holy is His Name. And His Mercy is from generation unto generations upon them that fear Him.
He hath shewed might in His arm, He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart. He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble. He hath filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel, His servant, being mindful of His mercy. As He spoke to our Fathers, Abraham and His seed forever.”
Are you ready for tomorrow? For “tomorrow I Come!” will at long last...be here!
Simply open your arms wide and welcome Him in!
Merry Christmas! And God bless you!
“For a child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
O Dear Lord,
I never quite feel “ready” for Your coming! There is always so much more I could do! But, by Your grace, please give me the gift of simply opening my arms wide and welcoming You (and the You I see in each person You place in my path), so that You can come afresh and anew this Christmas. Allow me to be present to You and those around me. Let me be mindful that all that I do is to be in honor of Your birth, of Your coming. O Prince of Peace, and let me not fall prey to the tyranny of thousands of little details, because You say that only ONE THING is truly needed. I give to You myself, just as I am, and I choose to make room in my heart for You. O Come, O Come Emmanuel, God with us! Come and be born in me this Christmas!
I ask this in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Amen.
My Christmas gift to you. Spend a moment in peaceful meditation and make this your Christmas prayer-Francesca Battistelli singing Be Born in Me inspired by The Story:
Want to read more about the O Antiphons?